FORT PIERCE — Ke’Yhara Tommie is a hard-working teen who set a high bar for her future; she wants to be a cardiovascular surgeon. The Fort Pierce Central High School sophomore is doing whatever it takes to achieve her goal, including pursuing dual enrollment at Indian River State College.
“My goal is to graduate high school with an associate degree,” said Ke’Yhara, 16. “The fact that I’m able to go to college while I’m still in high school and graduate with a college diploma is extraordinary.”
Her grade point average and PSAT score attracted the attention of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. She was invited to attend the 2015 Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts from June 24-26. Because Ke’Yhara has completed all her high school science credits, she wasn’t surprised the organization reached out to her.
A high achiever, Ke’Yhara completed honors anatomy, physiology and biology classes, among others, online at Florida Virtual School.
She enjoys science but her favorite subject is math.
“You get the formulas and have to plug them in to find the answers,” she said. “You always have to work for it. I like the challenge.”
Ke’Yhara would like to attend Harvard, Stanford, Brown or Florida A&M University. She said she always wanted to be a doctor when she was a young child and said she pays more attention to achieving the goal as she gets older.
“I love learning about the human body,” she said. “The heart keeps everything moving. It’s important that it’s strong and if I can help people get a strong heart so they can enjoy life, I will do that.”
Ke’Yhara looks forward to the experience and knowledge she will gain at the Congress. The program includes presentations by the director of the National Institutes of Health, four Nobel Prize laureates, a former U.S. Surgeon General, the dean for medical education at Georgetown University and a Harvard Medical School professor. Notable patients, including the recipient of the first face transplant, and young science prodigies round out the agenda. Speakers will field questions and mentor students during the conference.
“I can’t wait; it’s exciting,” Ke’Yhara said. “I’ve gotten awards but this is different for me. This is not the same as getting on the ‘A’ honor roll.”
Ke’Yhara is inspired by her parents, O’Hara and Sherrita Tommie, who will attend the Congress with her.
“My dad always wants me to stay ahead of the game and make history someday,” she said. “My mom teaches me never to give up.”
A well-rounded student, Ke’Yhara also plays on her school’s varsity basketball and track and field teams. She plans to volunteer this summer at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute in Fort Pierce.